• On the Farm

    A Cupcake Gone Wrong

    See this precious face?



    He’s so sweet, he earned the name Cupcake. But this little cupcake was a real flop on day one.

    My oldest daughter brought her 4H steer home last Sunday. My husband had spent time earlier in the day making sure the steer area was ready. But sometimes there’s just no preparing for a calf who doesn’t want to love his new home.

    Cupcake was released from the stock trailer directly into the pen. He took a look around, trotted into the feeding area, and slammed his almost seven hundred pounds into the wood railing at one end. From where we all stood, there was nothing we could do in time to keep him from escaping. Cupcake broke loose.

    If you follow me on Facebook, you know that loose steers are not uncommon on the Nelson farm, but this was exceptional. Cupcake didn’t go down our property. He didn’t take off for neighboring fields or the wood that flank the river. Nope. Cupcake headed for town. He plunged through the creek and into a field of horses. These horses were not happy to see him, but we thought we could get Cupcake loaded into the trailer from here and brought back home.

    Cupcake tore through the horse’s fence and across the road into another field. Trust me when I say this is not the way to bond with your neighbors. We were fortunate to have my daughter’s friend along for the fun. He’s a big, strong guy who doesn’t mind getting dirty. At least he didn’t complain, and I baked him cookies!

    So, after a VERY long time in the rain and the dark, with my last bit of pride tossed to the wind (I find singing to the steers is helpful) and my dog, Harper, well exercised for the day, the time came for drastic action. That steer managed to get my husband and my daughter’s friend on the ground. At one point, he took out a neighbor too. But he was trailered and brought back to his new home where he’s decided to be content.


    And all is calm on the Nelson farm…Until we bring in another steer this weekend.


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  • family,  ramble

    How We Became Redneck Ranchers

    Question: What’s worse than a child running into the house yelling that the steers are out?

    Answer: A child running into the house yelling that the steers are GONE!

    That’s how we were greeted not too long ago. Of course, it was a morning where we had somewhere to be.

    Inspection of the steer pen revealed that they had broken a board leaving a gaping hole. And…the feed from the night before was still there. They must have made their escape soon after feeding time. Twelve hours is a very long time to wander. Visions of the beasts marching through town made my stomach twist.

    We scoured the property for any sign.

    They’d been in the garden. My broccoli…Gone!

    To our great relief it seemed they’d headed for the west end of the property. Hundreds of acres would come between them and civilization.

    Our oldest son took off running, the younger son took the quad, oldest daughter saddled the horse, and the youngest hopped in the truck with us.

    Behind our property dirt roads twist around poking out here and there into various field. So many routes they could have taken. What a wonderful sound to hear one of the kids scream that they’d spotted them!

    There they were, on a narrow path near the river. My oldest son haltered one, and we began the long walk home.

    With the steers back home (I think they were happy to be back too), we repaired the fence and moved on with the day.

    Wouldn’t you know it, they broke out again only few days later. My husband only had time for a quick repair because the sun was setting.

    This is what I saw the next morning:

    Yes, that is a Suburban blocking the hole. Classy, huh?

    The fence is REALLY fixed now. On to other adventures.


  • family,  ramble

    Look what’s new on the farm…


    There’s a lot happening around here. Not long after the flood waters dropped, the flood of new critters began.


    This little guy is the only boy we have so far this year. He’s also the darkest and maybe even the cutest.



    Here’s my oldest daughter taking a newborn lamb into the barn.


    A couple of the earlier lambs playing in the field. These guys are so fun to watch.


    This is another new arrival. My oldest son and oldest daughter are raising steers for 4H. They’re attention hogs but oh-so-cute.


    Standing in the mud, like every other Oregonian.


    Stay tuned. Little piggies will be here next.